Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Harri out of plaster

Good news: Harriet’s now out of plaster and the first step in the procedure has worked. The hip sockets have begun to form, but there’s some way to go yet, and she may still require further surgery down the line – possibly as late as age five.

In the meantime however, her plaster has been replaced with a harness which does the same job of keeping her hips in a specific position to help facilitate the development of the hip sockets. Apparently the risk of dislocation is virtually eliminated now, but in a slight change to what we thought, she’ll have to stay in the harness for a full 22 hours a day for six weeks; originally we thought she’d be spending progressively less time in the harness over the coming weeks, but from a practical perspective it’ll be simpler. By the beginning of April she will only need the harness at night and for any naps she takes during the day.

Practically speaking the pros of a harness over plaster very much outweigh the cons. She’s a little bit lighter, and easier to lift and carry. She easily fits in her car seat now, and can go back into the high chair, which makes feeding easier for everyone! On the downside nappy changes are more involved as the harness needs to be removed each time, but she’s back in real nappies which is a relief, plus we no longer have to perform a nappy change at night.

She’s already had her first bath – she hasn’t gone off those at least as the squeals of delight last night will testify! And in the next week or two she’ll be able to resume her swimming lessons again.

She won’t be able to stand up in the harness or take her first steps, so that will have to wait until the harness comes off during the day and her muscles get used to their new position. We go back to the hospital on 18th May to see how the hips are doing via an x-ray, at which point she may or may not be relieved of the harness for good (my guess from the consultant’s comments yesterday is that he expects her to still require it after this date for a while longer, so we’re prepared for that).

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